Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade shares a history with Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose, including a misconstrued initial impression.
In March 2016, lead singer Brian Johnson took a temporary break due to a touring halt order, leading to the rescheduling of the final weeks of the tour. Upon returning to the stage, a significant lineup change occurred, with Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses stepping in for Johnson. This marked the first instance since the conclusion of the ‘Highway to Hell Tour’ in January 1980 with a vocalist other than Johnson.
Despite the rumors surrounding him, Rose proved to be quite different from Slade’s expectations. In a recent interview with Wales Online, the rocker reminisced about the auditions and his initial thoughts on Rose:
“To be honest, I was incredulous. We were auditioning singers – we tried four or five. And I didn’t know anything about it. All of a sudden, they said: ‘It’s Axl Rose tomorrow.’ I knew all the horror stories, of course. I met him, shook his hand, and thought: ‘This guy’s all right.’ And he was. He’s nothing like the character you’ve heard about – he tells great jokes. He’s as funny as Brian is.”
Slade Believes Axl Rose Brought New Energy to AC/DC
Two years after the performance, Slade was questioned about the band’s willingness to have Rose play with AC/DC again. Evidently, the band was so impressed with the Guns N’ Roses singer that their on-stage energy reached new heights. In a previous interview, the drummer expressed:
“Yes, absolutely. Angus [Young] was running around like a schoolboy, you know?! It did reinvigorate the band. Brian is great, as we all know; he’s a great personality and a great guy. Axl brought his voice to it. Like, I couldn’t believe the notes he hit; it was staggering. And I actually had no hope at all.” While the drummer was initially taken aback, he was ultimately pleased with how things unfolded with the lead singer:
“When I heard that Axl was going to be in the band, I thought, ‘Oh, what?!’ Because I’d only ever heard that Guns N’ Roses voice, but all great singers, they can change the timbre of their voice, and wow, he hit notes that dogs can only hear. It was unbelievable. I thought he did an amazing job. I could hear him very clearly because I use in-ear monitors, and it’s the best I’ve ever heard the band.” You can listen to Axl Rose’s performance with AC/DC in the concert snippet below.